An intriguing motion was passed in Parliament to hold off on the sale of Mullet Bay (see related story). It is related to the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten (CBCS) having placed under emergency rule ENNIA insurance company owned by Parman International BV – because of alleged mismanagement of funds – to ensure its solvability.
This led to a legal battle in which the latter, its owners Hushang Ansary and his daughter Nina, as well as (former) directors, supervisory board members and other shareholders were ordered by the court to pay ENNIA damages totalling more than one billion Netherlands Antillean guilders.
To ensure compliance, CBCS sold Parman’s Banco di Caribe and plans to do the same with Sun Resorts, proprietor of Mullet Bay. The motion’s main request is to wait until an ongoing a parliamentary inquiry into the issue has been completed.
Arguments include the location’s historic, ecological and economic value. Finance Minister Ardwell Irion in his role as CBCS shareholder representative was specifically asked to postpone any sale until at least June, when the Inquiry Committee’s final report is expected.
Possible solutions offered include giving government a right of first refusal to buy the property at “fair market” price. The shares in CBCS and the 1% foreign exchange tax levied on the country’s behalf could serve as security for payment over 15 to 20 years.
Considerations in the motion include the importance of the area’s responsible development. Mention was made of protecting the beach as well as building adequate access roads and proper parking.
However, the property houses the island’s only golf course that is an essential part of its tourism product too. Whatever plans are made need to keep such in mind.
It will be interesting to see how all this goes, but delaying a decision for six months does not seem unreasonable under the circumstances, also considering the uncertainty that has plagued this area since Hurricane Luis badly damaged Mullet Bay Resort in September 1995.